Tag habits

Living Lives of Wonder, Meaning & Connection Requires Fighting Habituation By Questioning Our Thought Patterns & Daily Habits …*

Just came across this insightful reflection from Courtney Martin, who makes an important point about the need, not just for designers or creatives, but for all individuals invested in living lives of wonder, meaning and connection to question the status quo of one’s daily habits and thought patterns.

pause, question & rethink …*

“I don’t think it’s just great designers that have an awareness of how their own habits dull their capacity to be creative, to invent, to expect more. I would argue that it’s great humans that do. One of my favorite mantras in the Buddhist tradition is, “May I see what I do. May I do it differently. May I make this a way of life.”

I say it often. Because, to be quite frank, I sometimes get really sick of myself. I get sick of my anxiety. I get sick of my automatic thoughts. I get sick of my “way.”

Of course I try to be gentle with my tired self; we all have a way of being in the world that makes us feel safe. Habits are part of what makes our lives livable. In the chaos of contemporary life, we crave the easily ordered, the familiar, the given. The things we do over and over again, the things that we don’t have to orchestrate or anticipate or invent, are like welcome exhales.

[ . . . ]

When we get too attached to these habits, we risk losing our sense of wonder and our potential for the catalytic experience. When we get too comfortable, we risk falling asleep on the job — the job being living an awake life.

So it has me thinking: what are the habits that I need to or, better yet, want to shed? What are the habits filled with pleasure, the ones that make me feel grounded and capable of diving back into the fray of my busy life; in contrast, what are the habits that dull me? What are the habits that have gotten me here but won’t get me there?”

Source: The Potential in the Pregnant Pause

Rethinking “Someday” – On Courage & Letting Go …*

Rethinking "Someday" & Making Room For Flow ...* | rethinked.org

“About six months ago, I sat down and wrote some really audacious lists: one was Dream Mentors; another was People with Awesome Mystical Powers; another was Stuff I’d Like to Do Before I Die; and the last was Stuff I’d Like to Do Someday. On my dream mentor list, I had a mutual connection to one of the people, so I emailed her. For the mystical powers people, I wrote a cold email to four of them to ask if they’d like to do a weekly call with me for accountability and support. On the things I’d like to do before I die list, I created a plan. I literally backed my way into how to make those things happen. I put the things I’d like to do someday into a pile and threw them away, because who has time for someday? The very next day I heard from my dream mentor and we went out to lunch a week later. I don’t think people realize how close at hand their dream mentors can be.” – Elle Luna

Over the course of this past week, for National Simplify Your Life Week, I have been using the quote above by Elle Luna as a sort of compass for simplifying my time and my things. I went through my closets and let go of all those “just in case” items that I never use but feel an irrational need to hold on to because someday, in some improbable situation, I may need them. In the great, wise words of Elle, who has time for someday? So off they go to the Salvation Army where hopefully someone will be able to make use of them now, today. Conversely, I looked at some of the things I’ve been wanting to do but have felt “not enough” to begin–not enough time, ability, resources, knowledge, courage–all those things I’ve been dreaming about and saving for someday when I’d feel enough to start. I let go of most of the items on my “someday” list, but there were a couple dreams and projects on there, which when I considered abandoning, made me feel heartbroken. I took this as a cue for action and transferred them to the ‘things I’d like to do before I die” list. I am now in the process of backing my way into making these things happen. Step one, I decided, was to eliminate the many ways in which I mindlessly spend my time, those default activities utterly devoid of intent, flow or growth. 

I’ve decided to go a month with no TV watching. I don’t own a TV but between iTunes, Amazon Instant, Hulu and Netflix, I spend an ungodly amount of time watching bad TV shows. I’ve canceled my Hulu and Netflix memberships (did I ever really need both?!). 

I’ve gotten rid of email on my phone. Instead of having a constant stream of interruptions throughout the day popping up on my screen I’m going to allot two chunks of time for email, one in the morning, one in the evening. 

I’m also going to try going a month without using Internet at home. Given that some days I work from home, I think this one might be the toughest, but it will be a good excuse to get out of the house. I’d like for home to feel more like a sanctuary, a space and time to focus on passion projects with calm and intent.

I’ll see after a month if these are habits I want to shed for good. I think it is likely that I will, but after years of running experiments on myself, I have learned that I need to break down change into small, achievable steps if I want to follow through.

What have you been doing to simplify your life? Any good tips? Let me know …* 

{ Managing the Fear of Change } 7 Interventions to Make Big Changes Feel Small & Achievable …*

In this TEDxTalk, conflict mediator and strategist, Priya Parker shares seven interventions to overcome the fear of change that so often paralyzes and keeps us from living the deeply meaningful and impactful lives we long for. The seven experiments that Priya suggests are based on research in neuroscience, business management, conflict resolution and the arts and share the common aim of making big changes feel small and achievable:

  1. The Obituary Test
  2. The Passion Comic Strip
  3. The Backward Elevator Test
  4. The Life Sentence
  5. The Dwindling Cash Experiment
  6. The Habit of Helping Others
  7. The Farewell Party Evite

watch, experiment & rethink …

How Do You Cultivate Happiness & Well-Being In Your Life?

How Do You Cultivate Happiness & Well-Being In Your Life?  | rethinked.org

I haven’t yet had a chance to do the gratitude night exercise suggested by Martin Seligman in Authentic Happiness, so I have no Positive Psychology interventions to report on today. I thought I’d ask YOU about how you go about cultivating happiness and well-being in your daily life. What habits, actions, tools or mindsets have you tried and adopted to nurture and increase your well-being? How do you make yourself happy?

Let me know * 

The Science of Happiness: Exploring the Roots of A Happy & Meaningful Life …*

The Science of Happiness: Exploring the Roots of A Happy & Meaningful Life ...* | rethinked.org

 

Rethinkers * delight, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center is offering a free MOOC on the Science of Happiness, co-taught by Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas this coming September.

“The Science of Happiness” is the first MOOC to teach the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course will zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.

What’s more, “The Science of Happiness” will offer students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So each week, students will learn a new research-tested practice that fosters social and emotional well-being—and the course will help them track their progress along the way.

September is still far off, but Forbes is predicting that this course may be poised to make history in online education, becoming the world’s most popular MOOC ever! Sign up now.

{ RETHINKED*ANNEX }

If you can’t wait till September to start learning about Positive Psychology and experimenting with various interventions to create a happier and more meaningful life, you’re in luck! As you may remember, today is the kickoff of the Positive Psychology part of the rethinked*annex project in which I experiment on a personal and individual level with some of the tools and methodologies that we think, play and write about here on rethinked …* In my two previous cycles of rethinked*annex, I experimented with Design Thinking and Integrative Thinking. 

{ READING LIST } 

I’ve updated my original reading list a tiny bit, mainly because I’ve had Tal Ben-Shahar‘s books on my bookshelves for at least the past five years and have yet to implement a single tip in a lasting way.

{ JOIN ME ? } 

If you’re interested in dabbling in Positive Psychology and testing it out for yourself, I would be delighted to collaborate and form a support/accountability group. We could set up Google Hangouts and discuss the books, ideas and interventions. Leave me a comment or shoot me an email at elsa@rethinked.org.

learn, experiment & rethink …* 

{ Hacking Change Management …* } Doughnuts, Running & The Power of Habits

On November 3, I bundled up and stood on Manhattan Avenue cheering on a friend and the other runners participating in the 2013 New York City Marathon. Perhaps it was because parts of my cognitive functions had shut down from the cold and were not yet fully restored, or perhaps it was the lingering feeling of community and togetherness that had pervaded the streets that day–I still cannot explain this to myself–but the next day, I decided to enter the lottery for the half marathon, which will be taking place this spring. Now, for context, the last time I set foot in a gym (or in a sneaker, for that matter) goes back to my high school days. So when the momentary euphoria I felt after signing up dissipated, I was left with a sense of utter panic. Not only have I not kept to a fitness regimen in nearly a decade, but I particularly dislike–read abhor– running. My first reaction was to make endless promises to the universe about how much of a better person I would become if only I were not picked in the lottery. My second instinct, more mature and productive, was to gather up what I know about motivation and making changes and translate that into action (rethinked*annex, anyone?)

From what I have learned on the science of willpower–that it is a finite and easily depleted resource–and my intense dislike of running, I knew that if I were to stand a chance sticking to my training over the next few months, I would have to make running a habit. I remembered watching a Big Think Edge episode with Charles Duhigg author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do what We Do In Life And In Business and decided to use what I knew to (purchase) and lace up my sneakers and get started. My memory was a bit shaky on the concepts he had laid out, but I did remember that habits are made up of three components–the cue, the behavior and the reward. I also remembered that you have to create an extrinsic reward for yourself until the neural pathways connecting the cue to the behavior forms and strengthens to the point where the habit becomes near automatic and the reward intrinsic. Finally, the reward has to be a real reward, something you genuinely enjoy. I took all of this quite literally and told myself that every time I put on my sneakers (cue) and went for a run (behavior), I would buy myself doughnuts (reward). I am now on week three of my training regimen and I haven’t missed a single day. And yesterday, during the day, I found myself anxiously awaiting the evening to go on my run. It wasn’t the doughnut that I was anxious for, it was the run!

While my strategy for sticking to my running regimen may seem a bit extreme, I came across this video of an interview that Duhigg did with Jonathan Fields, founder of the Good Life Project, where he says, verbatim, “We know from studies that the best way to start exercising is, at first, give yourself a piece of chocolate as soon as you’re done with your workout. […] What you’re trying to do is you’re trying to trick your brain into associating this cue and this routine with a reward. And then, we know from studies, that after a week and a half, once you start exercising, you don’t want that chocolate anymore. The intrinsic reward becomes enough to sustain the pattern, but you have to trick your brain at first by giving it an extrinsic reward.” (Yay, neuroscience! )

Watch Duhigg explain the power of habits and get lots of practical tips on habit formation to get a head start on positive changes for 2014!

Enjoy & rethink …*

Good Life Project: Charles Duhigg – Power of Habit | Published on YouTube July 4, 2012

Robert Steven Kaplan On Why You Need To Be Aware of Your Failure Narrative & Other Tips For Reaching Your Potential

“You’ve got three stories, I’m only interested in one of them. There’s the facts of your life story: where were you born; where did you go to school; your parents; your family–just the facts. There’s a second story, which you’ve got a lot of practice at, it’s called your success story, which is the story of how you overcame obstacles, excelled and got to where you are now. It normally has drawbacks, it has failures, it has terrible things that happened to you and you said, “I will not stand for that! I will overcome that and I decided right then, I was going to do this and then I went and I did it.” There’s a third story, this is not one that you’re telling in your job interview and this, I would call, is your failure narrative. And every one of you has got one and it’s based on the same facts of your life. “

 …*

I first heard about Harvard Business School’s Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development, Robert Kaplan’s, concept of the ‘failure narrative’ last week while watching this short excerpt of an interview he did with Big Think. I was thrilled to hear him stress the importance of writing down one’s perceived narrative to drive awareness and facilitate change as I’ve been experimenting with a similar type of cognitive intervention entitled Self-Authoring these past two weeks (more on that next week).

In the video below, Kaplan elaborates on the failure narrative while highlighting the key steps of the process he outlines in his new book, What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Road Map for Reaching Your Unique Potential, to help people reach their unique potential.

Kaplan argues that the reason why so many of us don’t reach our full potential is that we don’t understand that it is an ongoing process, instead we “tend to think of it as a magic answer or a destination.” Kaplan notes that most of us would find it a bit ridiculous if one of our friends told us that they were trying to lose weight and wanted to go on this diet and then never have to worry about their weight again. Obviously, that wouldn’t work, change needs to be maintained. Same thing with growth–reaching our potential is a never ending journey, not a destination. Here Kaplan highlights five critical steps of the process necessary to reach one’s full potential, while providing tips on how to put each of them into action.

1. Assess Your Skills ~ Reaching your potential starts with an honest, accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses relative to a job. You need to learn to get in the habit of writing notes down, relative to a job and seeking the feedback of those that observe you so you can do it accurately. 

2. Find Your Passions ~ Passion is the rocket fuel that allows you to work on your weaknesses, makes you get advice from people and helps you do all sorts of other things, bad days, bad months, bad years–tolerating adversity. Passion is the rocket fuel that lets you do it but you do need to know what tasks you’re passionate about. You’ve got to be able to write that down. It is hard to perform at a very high level for a long period of time unless you’re passionate about what you’re doing. 

3. Understand Yourself ~ Why do people fail? Why do people fail to get feedback? Why do they fail to be able to understand their passions? Why don’t they go for it when they see something they want to do? Why do they keep quiet when they should speak up and act like owners? Normally, it’s doubt. 

  • What is that doubt for you? 
  • Can you write it down?
  • Are you aware of it?

The reason why being aware of your own failure narrative is so crucial is that, as Kaplan points out, “The biggest issue many people have is they don’t understand themselves.” We can’t always explain our rationale for our decision making and behavior. To develop more productive habits and further our chances of reaching our full potential, we need to be aware of our own beliefs. We need to examine what it is that is holding us back and triggering the self-doubt that we all feel throughout our lives.

Injustice happens. The key is, for most people, it feeds into your childhood, maybe events growing up, injustices that happened to you, maybe a difficult boss feeds into your self-doubt. And all of you have a narrative that’s in your head, whether you’re aware of it or not, right now that says, “I’m not good enough, I can’t do this. I doubt that I’ll ever be a _____ at ___, I don’t think I can.” And if you don’t think you’ve got [ a failure narrative], let me give you an assignment: write down your failure narrative. And the reason I urge people to write this down, this is [a narrative] that’s not politically correct to talk about, you’re not sharing it with your peers. Most of us wear a mask every day but we have self-doubt about something. And I might ask it to you this way: what’s your biggest fear? What is your biggest area of self-doubt? What is it you can’t do? And for many people, they’re not even aware that it’s in their head, but I can tell you it’s affecting what you do every day. It’s affecting your ability to reach your potential. Write it down, it may surprise you. 

Here’s the reason I like talking about the failure narrative. First of all, if you have the failure narrative always in your head, it might make you feel better to know, you’re not the only one. Everyone, to varying degrees has one. Most people think that their failure narrative is unique to them and they’re the only one–not so. Everyone has a failure narrative that is in their mind much more than you would believe. Now, they cover it over, they look great and their hair is nice and everything is great but I’ll tell you, if you watch them enough and you see what they can do and where they just can’t do it–that failure narrative is there. So step one is to realize you’re not the only one–there’s not something wrong with you because you have a failure narrative. Step two is, do you know what it is? And then step three is, how is it affecting your behavior now? And then you get to a question: do you need to be a prisoner of it? You’re not going to get rid of it, by the way, I have no clue how to get rid of one, but I do believe, if you’re aware of it and you try to address it, you don’t need to be a prisoner of it.

4. Performance and Career Management ~ What’s the vision? What are the top two or three tasks you must do well? Can you write them down? You should gear your skill development against those. Your dream job–you’ve got to think about the tasks you would dream about. You need to take ownership of thinking about these things. 

5. Good vs Great: Character  & Leadership ~ Once you’ve done strengths, weaknesses, passions, your story, matching all that to the job you’re in and what’s most important–do you act like an owner? […] Do you stick your neck out, appropriately? Do you help others who need help even though you don’t get any credit for it? This is what makes the difference, in my experience, between the people who are decent or good and great. Great companies are built around people who act like owners. Do you? 

via AtGoogleTalks, published on YouTube, August 9, 2013.

Friday Link Fest…*

Friday Link Fest...* | rethinked.org | photograph by Elsa Fridman

“Everything is sculpture. Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture.” -Isamu Noguchi

READ

It’s Summertime: Let’s Play! ~ The benefits of play are great — more far-reaching than just helping kids blow off steam or get a little physical exercise. In addition to helping kids learn to self-regulate, studies show that child-led, unstructured play (with or without adults) promotes intellectual, physical, social, and emotional well-being. Unstructured play helps children learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, to regulate their emotions and behavior, and to speak-up for themselves. via Greater Good Science Center, published July 15, 2013.

“We Have a Responsibility to Awe” ~ Jason Silva’s new passion project – “Shots of Awe.”  A TestTube series about what it means to be ALIVE – these 2-minute videos are like little jolts of caffeine right to the frontal lobe. via The Wonderist, published May 30, 2013.

Facilitating Group Problem Solving in High Schools ~ If you’re a designer interested in teaching in the high school classroom, or you’re just thinking about bringing student-led problem solving into your classroom or community group, try the following best practices we discovered during our pilot of frog’s Collective Action Toolkit (CAT) in high schools, in partnership with Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Design for Sustainability program, Design Ethos, Gatorball Academy, and teachers and classes at Beach, Groves, and Savannah High Schools. via Design Mind, published July 18, 2013.

Turning waste into building blocks of the future city ~ Modern cities create vast quantities of waste. But rather than causing a crisis, could these overflowing landfills help create urban landscapes of the future? In the third of Building Tomorrow’s expert viewpoints, urban designer Mitchell Joachim looks at ways our trash can be turned into treasure. via BBC Future, published May 28, 2013.

How To Schedule Your Day For Peak Performance ~ Are you a certified organizational ninja? It’s okay, nobody is–so steal this idea from career kickstarter Amber Rae, who shares her “Work, Play, Fit, Push” framework for getting things done while staying inspired.  via FastCompany, published April 17, 2013.

Roger Martin on Designing in Hostile Territory ~ You don’t need anyone’s permission to think like a designer. But there are five things you need to do if you want to be effective in a “design-unfriendly organization.” via Business Week, published November 16, 2013.

Unlock Your Creative Genius: 4 Steps To Being Provocative With A Purpose ~ In his book, Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius, Erik Wahl says that “purposeful provocation” should be a part of our personal and professional lives, every single day. Here are the four steps he suggests we need to take to inject a healthy disorder to remain progressive: via FastCompany, published July 17, 2013.

5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick ~ In our day-to-day lives, habits can often be tough to build, as there are plenty of distractions that can lead us off the “straight and narrow” and right back to our old ways. To alleviate some of those troubles we can examine some academic research on motivation, discipline, and habit building, and break down their findings into actionable steps that any aspiring habit-builder can put into place. via 99u, published July 17, 2013.

LOOK

To Encourage Sharing And Reading, Creative Places Free Books On Subways ~ In her project ‘Books on the Underground’,  London-based creative Hollie Belton, leaves books at subway stations and on trains on the London Underground network—where they are to be taken, read, shared and enjoyed. via Design Taxi, published July 18, 2013.

Technology Is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome ~hand-drawn image by author Bill Ferriter on the role that technology should play in teaching and learning spaces. via MindShift, published July 12, 2013.

LIFE at Lascaux: Early Color Photos From Another World ~ via TIME, published January 23, 2012.

The faces of education: stunning photos from the classrooms around the world Julian Germain started his “Classroom Portraits” series in 2004 in North East England, and since then he’s been everywhere from the Middle East, to Africa, to North and South America capturing the spirit, students, and visual culture of school rooms around the world.~ via GOOD, published July 17, 2013.

16 Real Modern Technologies Predicted by Inspector Gadget ~ Vanity Fair sifted through Inspector Gadget’s 86 episodes to see what this crystal ball of technology foretold. The results are a surprising collection of then fantastical products and concepts that we couldn’t imagine living without today. But perhaps the most forward-thinking model might be the show’s core relationship: a computer-obsessed child doing her best to explain technology to her forever clueless parental figure.via Vanity Fair, published July 11, 2013.

Villagers ‘Grow’ Bridges Using Vines And Roots To Cross Rivers ~ In the state of Meghalaya, India, villagers have been directing tree roots and vines to ‘build’ bridges for 500 years. By using hollowed out tree trunks, they guide these plants to the other side of the river and allow them to take root. In a region which receives much rain, it is counter-intuitive to make a bridge out of wood planks as the wood will rot. The natural solution was to use the surrounding plants as they would strengthen over time. via Design Taxi, published July 16, 2013.

WATCH

Sir Ken Robinson on How to Find your Element ~ Finding one’s passion and true purpose in life is essential to human flourishing. via RSA, published July 5, 2013.

What Happens When You Let Artists Play With San Francisco’s Trash ~ Trash can be beautiful. Just take a look at Recology San Francisco’s Artist in Residence Program, which lets professional and student artists run wild with the waste management company’s garbage. via FastCo.Exist, published July 19, 2013.

Martí Guixé: Food as an object of mass production ~ From a hands-free lollipop to a cake that displays its ingredients in pie-chart form, Martí Guixé’s work challenges perceptions of reality. The Catalonian designer works with food as an object of mass production, often creating interactive experiences. Working across food, platform and system design, Guixé’s work is often playful – like the parties he had to get partygoers to help him decorate retail interiors! via Design Indaba, published March 29, 2013.

The 7 Essential Life Skills ~ Ellen Galinsky on the 7 essential skills–focus & self-control; perspective taking; communicating; making connections; critical thinking; taking on challenges; self-directed, engaged learning–humans need to keep learning and growing throughout the lifespan. via BigThink, published July 18, 2013.

5 Great under 6 minutes TED Talks for Teachers ~ via Education Technology & Mobile Learning, published July 16, 2013.

Keith Yamashita on The 9 Habits of Great Creative Teams…*

The Teamworks Habit | via SYPartners

“The great teams really work hard at it. They cultivate specific habits that they do that makes them great.” 

In this fantastic talk from last year’s 99u ConferenceSYPartners chairman & founder, Keith Yamashita, highlights nine positive habits of great team culled from SYPartners two decades of collaboration with over a thousand teams. Yamashita lists the top nine habits of great teams and shares some strategies for building the capabilities necessary to fully access and master these nine habits.

SYPartners has also been in the process of developing an app, titled Teamworks, which will act as ” a set of tools to spark teams to work at their very best.” While the Teamworks app, currently in private beta, will not be released until later this year, you can download free of charge SYPartner’s previous app, Unstuck, a “new in-the-moment approach to personal growth for anyone who wants to live better every day. Combining personalized digital tools with tips and know-how from a community of other people facing stuck moments, Unstuck makes it easy to get on-demand coaching whenever you need it.”

  1. SUPERPOWERS ~ Great teams, when they really are at their best, start first with the foundation of each person on their team understanding their superpower–what they do better and more extraordinarily than anyone else on their team.
  2. PURPOSE ~ The habit of purpose-making–what does this mean? Why should we care? Why is this interesting? That purpose-making turns out to be absolutely essential to how teams become great.
  3. FORCES ~ Great teams see the forces at play and capitalize on them.
  4. BELIEF ~ Whatever your definition of greatness is, it almost always requires building belief in others so that they’ll take action.
  5. DECISIONS ~ Decisions of how we need to work together become vital.
  6. BOLD MOVES ~ Great teams don’t try to do everything, they focus on the most important things.
  7. DUOS‘ { TRUST } ~ We have a particular term at SYPartners which we call “Duo”, it’s the smallest atomic unit of trust. It’s you and me, we have nowhere else to shovel the blame.
  8. REFRAME ~ A team’s resilience, it’s ability to reframe something to make it positive becomes an essential habit.
  9. OUTCOMES ~ Great teams identify the outcomes.

Enjoy & rethink…*

Keith Yamashita: The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams from 99U on Vimeo.

[ H/T: Keith Yamashita: The 3 Habits of Great Creative Teams via 99u]

Embodied Curiosity as A Framework for Being | Everything I’ve Learned About Being A Knowmad { so far }

Embodied Curiosity as A Framework for Being | Everything I’ve Learned About Being A Knowmad { so far }

This is the final article in a series of posts synthesizing my insights from the past three months spent attempting to apply concepts from Integrative Thinking to my every day life as an individual.

When I set out to explore this idea of embodied curiosity, I had grand plans of creating an entire ‘idea harvesting’ system for myself. I decided to create a process to guide my w{o|a}ndering and a system to store and display the treasures uncovered by my curiosity. I beefed up my Google Reader, bought a very large daily planner which I made into a “learning milestones” notebook and started a private blog in which to collect photographs, videos and articles that I found inspiring. The first two weeks of this big curiosity overhaul were positively thrilling–I was engaged, focused and motivated. I nearly jumped out of bed in the mornings I was so excited to get to work and at the end of the day as I lovingly flipped through my notebook or scrolled through my blog, I felt a great sense of accomplishment seeing all these nuggets of potential grouped together in an easily accessible way. I could feel the beginnings of new connections forming in my head. I was burning through Post-Its, littering my walls with reminders to “explore the relationship between z and x further” or “get the book on y mentioned by w”.

About a month into my new embodied curiosity lifestyle, I had a spectacular intellectual burnout. One morning I woke up and found that the excitement had gone and all that was left was dread. Dread at the thought of the hundreds of millions of interesting things that I wanted to but wouldn’t be able to uncover that day. Dread when I realized how long it had been since I had created rather than consumed. I started feeling massively overwhelmed by the amount of content and input surrounding me–so many books, articles, videos, photographs and people that I wanted to engage with and so little time. By sticking the word embodied in front of curiosity I had given myself free reign to let my curious nature loose, unchecked and unproductive. My life had become all input and no output. It was a bad place to be in. So I stepped away from my books, computer, phone and magazines and decided to go back to the beginning.

Embodied curiosity, to me, means translating ideas into action by infusing curiosity into every facet of my life and acting on the fruits of that curiosity as often as possible. What it comes down to is much simpler than what I had envisioned: it’s about asking questions and acting on ideas, every day, with every new opportunity that presents itself. Embodied curiosity is much more than a system or tool, it’s a mindset and way of being in the world. It’s a framework for subjectivity and experience. I decided to write down everything I knew about being curious, generating ideas and acting on them. I now carry the list everywhere I go so that I can revisit it daily during in-between moments and remind myself of the small behaviors and attitudes that I can nurture and develop on a daily basis to infuse my life with embodied curiosity. Here is what I know, so far:

 

  • Be grateful
  • Take in, but also, let go
  • Get lost ~ at least once a day
  • Look. Really, look
  • Listen (and try to hear)
  • Walk, everyday. MOVE
  • Look for patterns, but do not get lost in them
  • Play—hard & daily
  • Never give up trying to find ways to move past language
  • Ask questions & be wary of answers
  • Observe & seek connections with the mind of a beginner { shoshin }
  • Learn to zoom in & out
  • Seek wonder, banish contempt
  • Do not underestimate the potential of constraints
  • Surrender to your obsessions
  • Drop the thread
  • Never confuse the construct of linearity for reality
  • Collect moments & experiences with the fervor of the curator
  • Define things for yourself & revisit your definitions often
  • Create multiplicities
  • In all things, aim to be like the ink drop ~ fluid & bleeding through
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Let others in
  • Aim to make the ordinary unknown
  • Be aware of theviolenceofpunctuation
  • Redefine value with each new context you encounter
  • Observe, record, remix
  • Empathy is the most salient of currencies
  • Do not lose sight of the relativity of suffering
  • Delight ~ often & freely
  • Consume + produce ~ It’s a precarious balancing act, keep the equilibrium
  • Cultivate the skills to adapt & improvise
  • Imagine wildly & with abandon
  • Give back
  • Failure is in the eye of the beholder
  • Change perspectives as often as you change underwear, but hold on to your core.
  • The other exists only in relation to the self, so for the sake of all, exercise your compassion muscle daily
  • Growth hurts, accept that its part of the process
  • Travel lightly & shed along the way
  • Embrace the unknown & learn to be comfortable with uncertainty
  • Flee perfection & expertise ~ broaden & blur
  • Take chances
  • Translate everything ~ ideas into action, challenges into opportunities, problems into solutions…*
  • Know when to stop & move on
  • Show up & begin
  • Meaning is never given, you must create it for yourself
  • rethinking > inventing
  • One of the most important things you can do is surround yourself with good walking companions
  • Do not dismiss or scorn that which you do not understand
  • Look to the extremes
  • Context!
  • There are no beginnings or endings, just spectrums of intensities
  • Seek to exist within tensions
  • Wake up for sunrise

 

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